door handles

More to life than door handles

The rains have turned the area we live in into a beautiful landscape full of trees in blossom and nesting birds in what is still a dense but thriving urban environment.

With the recent 3-day weekends we have been able to walk for hours in the Hollywood hills and were able to capture some lovely and surprising views.

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What is always startling is how quickly the grasses spring to life and turn the hills into a verdant intensely green landscape. While the Hollywood sign is a familiar view it is great to see it through a curtain of green leaves.

The bottle bush trees are a familiar sight but when in full foliage they take on the character of a weeping willow with their fine dropping branches. In the Willow sprig pull these flowing tendrils are captured in molten bronze. The handles are available as either right or left cabinet pulls but, in the photo, we accentuated their weight by superimposing these 2 handles.

Mule deer also reside in these hills and we saw whole families of them grazing happily on the lush vegetation.

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We spotted a pair of ravens preening each other whilst perched on a bare sycamore branch.

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Several of the photos were taken from the vantage point of the Hollywood reservoir which is also a great place for bird spotting as it is frequented by herons, egrets and the occasional osprey.

Unique Handles - How Form Follows Nature

Like many others we have just visited Borrego Springs to see the flowering cacti season which is now nearing it’s end for spectacular blooms. The red ocotillo are still to be seen with their spiky protrusions guarding their bright tubular flowers and some of the yellow brittlebrush were also in bloom but as we discovered there is more to the desert than colorful flowers.

 

When hiking through the sandy gravel terrain over hills and into dry stream beds what was equally beautiful to see were the dried mummified remains of the jumping cholla and the wreath like roots of the dying ocotillo plants. The jumping cholla bears an incredibly strong textural similarity to our Morphic door hardware and you would be forgiven for suspecting that Martin used this as his inspiration for this series. In truth the Morphic collection was consciously  inspired by ocean coral but Martin Pierce is quick to admit that a stray image of the cholla plant may well have been lingering in the depths of his subconscious. In any event Anza Borrego springs is an inspirational haven for all and well worth a visit.

 

The area is dramatic and arid and at this time of year still not too hot to hike in during the early morning and evening hours. Borrego Springs can also be extremely windy and this helps keep the air clean and makes the night sky perfect for star gazing.

 

What To Consider When Choosing Door Handles For A Home Renovation

A lot will depend on how you are planning to use the door handles, questions you may want to consider;

1.     How many doors are you planning to re-furbish - is this a statement piece for an entry door or are there several doors where you will be using the same style of design?

2.     How eclectic are you? Do you like to continue a particular style through the entire home or do you like to mix and match styles?

3.     Is the door exterior or interior - if an exterior door, is it protected from the elements or will it be exposed to rain, snow or sea spray as these will contribute to the corrosion and rust of the handle. While bronze does not rust, it will over time develop a patina and is often referred to as a “living finish”. Stainless steel is corrosion resistant and while not rust proof, 316 stainless steel is the preferred alloy for coastal properties exposed to sea water.

4.     Does the door need to lock - and does the door handle manufacturer provide the handles you are considering for all types of function from locking front and privacy doors to non-operating "dummy" handles that are typically fixed and often used to complete the symmetry for example of double doors where one handle operates to open and close the door and the “dummy” handle is used more as a grip or pull.

5.     Are there special needs - to consider making it important that the door handle be easy to grip and that levers not be too heavy to depress

6.     Are your doors unusual -  are they extremely deep or shallow, bare in mind that a typical door in the US is 1 3/4" to 2" thick and while many handles can accommodate other depths, the manufacturer may have an up charge to create shorter or longer spindles or through bolts.

7.     Unforeseen charges to consider -  the  lock is often not included in the cost of the door set but this varies with manufacturer, for example  we do include the costs for tubular latches but not the cost of the mortise lock made by Accurate.  The installation of a door set, particularly one that locks, will need to installed either by a contractor or locksmith.

HOUSING TRENDS AND DOOR HARDWARE CHOICES

We have lived through the Great Recession and appear at least on the housing scene, to be close to pre- 2007 levels for home prices and new construction. This bodes well for the construction industry and by extension those of us involved in making door hardware and lighting.

We look at housing trends so that we can assess who is buying what. It is useful to know that millennials account for 35% of all purchases and that they are buying homes in the 1,200 s.f. to 1,650 s.f. range and that both younger and older baby boomers are downsizing so they too are looking at smaller houses. Both groups seem to prefer more open spaces and more baby boomers now need a home/office as they are deferring retiring, or at least moving some of their work home.

As a designer of door handles the move to smaller housing may mean fewer Mc Mansions but it may mean more carefully selected door handles chosen specifically and with thoughtfulness to define a particular space. In reality, as a US manufacturer and because we only cast in premium stainless steel and silicon bronze, our work was and still is necessarily “high end”.  So even in the heyday of the McMansions our work was more commonly used as the statement piece for the entry door or decorative accompaniment to the guest bedrooms or the master suite. In short I feel the trend towards smaller is a positive one with door hardware being chosen for key areas based on style, durability and  with a focus on a eclectic mix of designs.

Sources used by the writer in this post included:

Neil Irwin’s piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/24/upshot/the-housing-market-is-finally-starting-to-look-healthy.html

And; https://www.nahb.org/en/research/design/housing-trends-for-baby-boomers.aspx

 

Post written by Anne Lauder

HD Expo 2013, Martin Pierce Hardware naming contest and you

We will be making our third annual trip to sunny Las Vegas again this year to attend and exhibit at the HD Expo 2013 and while there we will be debuting a few new items;  but we need your help. Ergo extended door handle

One of the items we are excited to debut is our new Ergo Extended Door Handle.  Our original Ergo large door handle was named the "Heroic".   Funny story...when we first came to America many, many years ago we noticed that large door handles always seemed to be called "heroic" so we thought that maybe it was some American tradition or funny use of the word.  Fast forward to the design of our Ergo collection and, in order to fit in,  we named it Heroic.  We have since learned that the word means the same thing in America as it does in England but we liked the sense of noble scale it portrayed and kept the name.  "Ergo" is short for ergonomic and this aptly describes the collection.  It is important in the design of this collection that the hardware pieces fit comfortably in the hand so, therefore, most of the pieces have both left and right handed versions.  Perfect for use in a private residence as well as public spaces that might include health care facilities, retirement communities or spas and hotels.

What we need now is for our readers and followers to put on their creative thinking cap and come up with a suitable name for the new, larger version of the Ergo door handle in lieu of the descriptive but rather boring "extended door handle".  Weighing in at a hefty 10 pounds and measuring an impressive 35 1/4" of solid stainless steel, this dramatic piece can be used as back to back handles on glass doors or anywhere you are looking to make a definite design statement.

The winning entry will be chosen by us and the lucky winner will receive both a left and right mushroom drawer pull from our  custom hardware Flora collection.  These lifelike yet whimsical pulls can be used to update an existing piece of furniture, cabinet door etc.  The only restriction to the new name is that it must contain the word "Ergo" and all entries must be received by us either in the comments section of this blog post or on our facebook page before midnight on March 1, 2013.  We look forward to reading all of your wonderful suggestions.

MushroomL&RLoc

Limited Edition hardware series at Martin Pierce

Isn't it wonderful to know that you own something that no one else owns?  Perhaps it is a piece of art or a treasured antique.  Or, in the case of a limited edition, you and a few select people are privileged to own a specific item.  Well, we are excited to say that it is now possible to own beautiful custom hardware from the new limited edition series at Martin Pierce. We are not new to the idea of limited edition pieces.  In fact, our Aspen Buffet with a limit of 30 pieces, of which 20 have sold, has been popular as has our vine series with a limit of 100 (76 have sold). 

We are now offering the large vine door handle in a limited edition of 100.  Two of these signed and numbered pieces of "functional art" have already sold with the help of LaForce Decorative Hardware in Madison Wisconsin.  We have shared the creative process of this piece from design drawing to pouring of the mold to actual functional item and are now ready to release this to 100 discriminating home and business owners.  As you can see, the incredible detail and thought that has gone into this design makes this a very special piece.  Look closely and you will spot several critters and knot holes among the leaves and vines.

For more information on these new products, view our complete line of hardware and get the latest news on what is happening at Martin Pierce, please visit us at www.martinpierce.com